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Welcome to WDP 10!

2014 marks the tenth iteration of the Williamsburg Documentary Project. This year we’ll be working with the theme: Spaces – Lost, Found and Remembered. WDP 10 will be taught by Michelle Lelièvre with teaching assistance from Kate Previti. Using city plans, oral histories, photographs and other resources, we will explore how Williamsburg’s residents and visitors have constructed, erased and remembered spaces. We will consider the construction and commemoration of these spaces in the context of the broader social science literature on space, place and landscape. Welcome to WDP 10!

Welcome to WDP 7

Welcome to the Spring, 2011 iteration of the Williamsburg Documentary Project. This semester the course will be taught by Prof. Jennifer Taylor.

WDP 6 (2010) Concludes

This year’s version of the Williamsburg Documentary Project officially ended about ten days ago. WDP 6’s fourteen students did some excellent work, gathered a lot of terrific materials, and produced several outstanding analyses of Williamsburg and its social and cultural history (and left a number of foundational provocations for future research).

We are constantly adding materials to the WDP archives–oral histories, documents, reports–and much of it can be found by following the “online archives” tab (or by going straight to William & Mary’s Swem Library dSpace).

Our blog will now get much quieter–but look for it to come back to life in January 2011, when WDP 7 will come into being.

Timeline and Mapping Tools

I think several of you might be interested in creating timelines or maps related to your final reports. Here are two tools that seem pretty easy to use if you are interested:

Pulaski Club

Weather permitting, the Pulaski Club is meeting this Thursday. Mr. Scruggs said that people interested could meet him in front of the Fife & Drum at 3:45 and that he would walk us over. I don’t want to impose upon him and bring a huge group, but if one or two of you maybe are interested, we could go this week and then a different group could go the next?

An Interesting Photo Exercise

Perhaps we could do something like this with some sites in W’burg?

John Berger, “Ten Dispatches on Place”

Allison sent this link to John Berger’s essay (in the classical sense of the term, not the academic sense), “Ten Dispatches on Place.” You can find it in print in the collection Hold Everything Dear. Allison says, “it has been very helpful for me in terms of thinking about my connection to place and consequently the disconnect that I often feel.”

PRAAT Transcription Software

Here’s the site for downloading the software Maya told us about in class today; they have Windows and MAC versions:

Some resources for tracking food-related businesses in Willamsburg

Virginia Department of Health Website (current restaurant inspection records) 

Swem Special Collections Wiki for our class: 

Business stats on current restaurants/stores: ReferenceUSA database (through Swem website) 

Local directories:

Directory and handbook of the city of Williamsburg and the county of James City (Swem, CW) 1898

Hill’s Williamsburg City Directory (Swem) 1957, 1959-60, 1962-73

Williamsburg City Directory (Swem, CW) 1959-60, 1963, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1984-1988, 1990-1994, 1997

Peninsula Cross-Reference Directory: Hampton-Newport News and Vicinity (Swem) 1972-1985

Williamsburg (Polk) Directory (Swem) 1983

Cross-Reference Directory (Swem) 1986-2002

Williamsburg, Virginia, Polk City Directory (Swem, CW) 1996-2008

Virginia Business Directory (Swem) 2003-04

City Publish Cross-Reference Directory (Swem) 2004-5

Hill-Donnelly Cross-Reference Directory (Swem) 2006-7

 Local papers:

Flat Hat (Swem)

VA Gazette (Swem)  

Recent Williamsburg Demographic/Economic information: 

Virginia Employment Commission’s Community Profile of the City of Williamsburg  

Suggestions for further research: 

All businesses need state tax number, so need to be registered w/the state.  Also consider contacting Williamsburg/JCC/York Co. municipalities. The Library of Virginia holds Virginia State Corporation Commission records from 1870-1981 on microfilm, though this would only help for businesses with corporate charters.

Some Thoughts on the Practice Interview with Prof. Pinson

In general I thought this interview went very well. You did a good job of framing open-ended questions and of developing follow up questions. I thought there were two specific aspects of the interview that could have been improved, though.

The first is technical rather than substantial, but it is important: When you start an interview, you need to identify yourself, the place and time, and your interviewee—and then ask them to identify themselves. This ensures that if the recording ever gets separated from its supporting documents a) it can, if possible, get reconnected with them, and b) it can still be useful to future researchers. Catherine skipped this bit—probably because she was a little nervous. No big deal, since this was practice, but something to be aware of for future interviews.

Remember this script from our handbook: “It is [date] at [time]. This is X, and I am here in Y location, interviewing Z. Z, for our recording would you please state your name, in whatever form you prefer?”

The second is that the local—and specifically Williamsburg—angle didn’t figure very prominently in your interview. Part of this was certainly due to the artificiality of the practice interview circumstance. And part of it was due to the extensive and interesting detail she supplied, and you all cultivated, about her growing up That said—especially since Prof. Pinson’s family moved quite a lot (and for interesting reasons)—it would have been useful to urge her to reflect explicitly on place and its meaning(s) for her. When you all got her to Williamsburg, you asked some great questions about connecting place to her writing—but she wriggled away. This would have been a good time to try repeating/reformulating the question or looping back around.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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